Welcome to the land of beaches, mountains, castles and villages. Those who visit this forgotten corner of the Mediterranean, make it their ambition to return and with very good reason too. Imagine a tropical island breeze from the beautiful ocean waves, wrapping itself around you as it settles onto your skin. Then visulise that breeze evaporate into all of the history and nature, wild, free and waiting to be discovered. The pace of life is slow and relaxed, the people are friendly, and the Turkish Cypriot smile is as bright and as warm as the Cyprus sunshine itself.
Cyprus is a special island. Sometimes referred to as the "Pearl of the Mediterranean" the island of Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea some 40 miles from Turkey, 197 miles from Syria and 250 miles from Egypt. England and western Europe are only 4-5 flying hours away. After Sicily and Sardinia, it is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The total population on the island is around 900,000 of which 350,000 live in Northern Cyprus. It is a beautiful island scented with the wonderful aroma of wild jasmine, with mountain peaks at over 6,000 feet, long stretches of sandy beaches and a turquoise coloured sea. Northern Cyprus has a coastline of approximately 500 miles ranging from gently sloping beaches to sheer rock walls plunging into the sea. The Beşparmak Mountain Range, with its magnificent jagged limestone peaks, the highest of which is Mount Selvili at 3,357 ft. runs along most of the north coastline to form a startling backdrop.To the east of the island, the mountain range looses height as it extends along the narrow peninsula, known as the Karpaz (The Panhandle as it is sometimes referred). It is along the Panhandle where one finds the best beaches with mile after mile of sandy bays. Other major centres are Guzelyurt in the West, where most of the citrus produce comes from. The resort town of Kyrenia (Girne) is on the northern coast, with its little harbour and colorful boats. Along with the magnificent castles, the harbour is probably one of the most photographed attractions in Kyrenia. The second largest resort town is Famagusta (Gazimağusa) to the East.
Historically, there is much to be discovered. Cyprus was an island that was repeatedly invaded over the centuries and each invasion has left a legacy that survives to this day. Whilst exploring the island you will find hidden gems awaiting you on each step of the journey.
Flowers and Fauna
Quite apart from the huge range of cultivated flowers, North Cyprus and especially the Karpaz peninsula is a rich botanical garden with literally hundreds of species of wild flowers, from crown anemones and pink rock roses, to purple iris and yellow crowfoot. From February to June, many areas of Northern Cyprus are carpeted with colorful wild flowers. The birds and the butterflies are glorious, lizards abound, and the loggerhead and green turtle still come ashore to lay their eggs on North Cyprus’s unspoiled beaches.
Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate, with long dry summers from mid-May to mid-October and with mild winters from December to February, separated by short autumn and spring seasons. Summer is the season of high temperatures with cloudless skies, but the sea breezes create a pleasant atmosphere in the coastal areas. Winters are mild with some rain, but even in January (usually the coolest month) there are generally six hours of bright sunshine during the day.
The season is long with over 300 days of sunshine in the year. In summer months, light clothing is all you will need. In spring and autumn, day time temperatures are generally warm enough for light summer clothing, but in the evenings you may feel the need for a light jacket or pullover. In winter, you should be prepared for all kinds of weather that a European spring may bring, bringing rain wear with you is a good idea.
Entering the Country
A valid passport is necessary for entering and a visa is granted on entrance for a period of up to 90 days. Northern Cyprus has an International Airport 'Ercan' with daily connections to Europe via Turkey. It is possible to fly directly from Europe to Larnaca or Paphos Airports and travel on to Northern Cyprus through the border which is regulated by the respective customs authorities. English is widely spoken and driving is made comfortable by the fact that vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road. The island attracts many foreign visitors and foreigners who have chosen to become residents and live the quiet, laid back living style of yesteryear.
Enteritainment and activities
If you’ve come to Northern Cyprus to enjoy your retirement, then you will definitely want something to do with all this spare time on your hands. It is wise to remember that the sun is very powerful in the summer so this should be borne in mind when drinking alcohol. There are as many sports and leisure activities and means of keeping fit available in Northern Cyprus. Here is just small selection of activity to keep you fit and healthy, whilst having fun, in the sun!
There are two golf courses in Northern Cyprus; the CMC Golf Club at Lefke with a par 36 course for 9 holes. In places, greens are replaced with browns and putting takes place on browns (a mixture of sand and oil that provides a good surface for putting). The course is open every day with nominal green fees and golf clubs available for hire. Dress is of a casual nature, although jeans and T-shirts are not permitted whilst on the course and you will need special shoes to protect the grass. At the other spectrum, the Korineum Golf and Country Club near the village of Esentepe is an 18 hole golf course to international standards. Boasting a selection of lush greens and fairways, sand bunkers and water hazards, the course is 6,600 yards-long and will test the skills of the most competent golfer during the 300 days of sunshine that Cyprus enjoys.
In less than 10 years, paintball pursuits have become one of the world's most exciting outdoor sports. Paintball is a combination of 'Tag' and 'Hide and Seek', played as children, but much more challenging. Although there are different styles of game, typically a group of players will divide into two teams to play 'Capture the Flag'. The object of the game is to capture the opposing team's flag, while preventing them from capturing yours. Although predominantly played by men (boys and their toys), it is a fun pastime for all.
A fun and exciting jeep safari adventure, exploring the Beşparmak Mountain range of Northern Cyprus. Discover an abandoned tank, deserted monasteries and some of the most spectacular views North Cyprus has to offer. So make sure you bring your camera!! On your journey of the rugged mountains you will explore Lapta. The deserted Village, The Trodos and Mesaroria plane, The Turkish Tank memorial, Ayios Panteleimon Monastery, Blue House-Mavi Kosk (on rainy days) Marionite village of Koruҫam and the picturesque Horseshoe bay. - For more information please contact Esta Travel Group on 0392 444 3782.
Walking in the Beşparmak Mountain range is a great way to experience the abundance of wildlife in North Cyprus. Hiking and trekking tours on the Kyrenia Mountain Range are enjoyed by many residents, tourists and locals. Orchid walks are also very popular, seeing at first hand some rare and beautiful flowers unique to Cyprus. What a wonderful way to keep fit whilst enjoying mother nature in all her glory.
Daily walking tours are available. Walking tours offer unique opportunities to walk the mountains and foothills of the Kyrenia coast. Whether you wish to walk independently or with a guide, the choice is yours. With a variety of walks to choose from you can explore paths or tracks, short or long walks into the mountains or onto the coast. Unearth charming villages, historical sites and panoramic views that will take your breath away. Walks can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities so there will always be a walk to cater for your needs. - For more information please contact Esta Travel Group on: 0392 4443782
Professionals, as well as beginners, frequent our karting circuits in North Cyprus. There are two Karting circuits which are both close to Nicosia, the 'Camas Sporting Centre' and the 'Zet Karting Circuit'. Zet Karting equals the highest of European standards and has one of the best racing surfaces in the region. How many of you yearn to drive like Sterling Moss in complete safety?
There are many stables offering horse riding lessons at reasonable prices in the Kyrenia and Famagusta areas. Some stables even allow customers to hire horses and take them out to roam the countryside for themselves.
Ten Pin Bowling
Ten pin bowling is very popular in North Cyprus. For enthusiasts, there are bowling alleys in Nicosia, Kyrenia and Famagusta. The Kyrenia Bowling League is very active and offers interested enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy bowling and compete against others. The cost is minimal and definitely worth a visit
Sailing the warm Mediterranean waters around the North Cyprus coastline, searching out sheltered and secluded bays and harbours is adventurous and exciting. There are numerous Yacht and boat tours departing from the Kyrenia harbour, or from the 5 mile beach area. There are also boat tours departing from the port of Famagusta, sailing along the Karpaz peninsula. North Cyprus is a regular focal point for yacht rallies and the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally comes to Northern Cyprus each May. If you are interested to learn seamanship or top-up your existing qualifications, there are also a number of sailing clubs offering lessons.
Discovering North Cyprus by bike gives you the freedom to discover and explore one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the Mediterranean. Ride epic cross-country trails, mountain dirt tracks and even fast flowing descents, that's if your feeling brave enough. Combine this with wonderful warm weather and a rugged coastline stretching for a 100 miles and you can understand why hiring a bike is the best way to explore North Cyprus. - For more information please contact Esta Travel Group on 0392 444 3782.
Flat Green Bowling
We are fortunate to have a flat green bowling club 'The Olive Press' which opened its doors in April 2011. Located near the coast in Lapta it has proved a popular recreational sport and is already a thriving business amongst the expat community. Various membership packages are available and your first few lessons will be with a professional tutor.
Here’s your chance to step up to the oche. The game of darts is keenly contested by Turkish Cypriot players and expats living here. The standard played ranges from being exceptionally high, to those who just like to go and enjoy a night out and play for fun. There are summer and winter leagues, played mainly in local bars and some small hotels. The Kyrenia Branch of the Royal British Legion has a team in the League.
Snooker / Pool
There are only a few snooker tables in Northern Cyprus, but the majority of bars have a pool table facility. There is a pool league played in Northern Cyprus throughout the year, and is taken quite seriously. The Kyrenia Branch of the Royal British Legion has a team in the League.
There are numerous bays, coves and rocky outcrops along the spectacular coastline for you to go sea fishing, making Northern Cyprus an ideal place for the keen angler. Fishing has long been a part of traditional life in the Mediterranean and Turkish Cypriots are no exception as you will soon discover when wandering along the old harbour in Kyrenia. Though many of the locals go fishing with nets and long lines, there are many others who fish by rod from the shore. The fishing season here is from mid-March through to the end of November. The waters are home to over 70 species of fish, ranging from the smaller peacock and rainbow bass to small parrot fish. Some species of fish cannot be caught, as the Government endeavors to protect the dwindling fish stocks in and around our waters, it's best to read up on what can be legally caught before participating in this sport. If you are going to fish here, you must obtain a fishing permit which currently costs 20TL for a three day permit. To fish and get caught by the Authorities without a permit will result in a financial penalty. Remember, even if you fish from a boat, you will still need a fishing permit.
North Cyprus is a great place for scuba diving, with clear visibility and lovely warm waters. Rocky outcrops rising from the seabed and marine reefs provide shelter for a wide range of different fish, allowing divers to get up close and personal. There are also opportunities to see rare turtles, octopus and ancient amphora on the ocean floor, dating back a thousand years or more. The oldest shipwreck in the world dating back to around 300 BC was raised from the seabed off the coast of Kyrenia and is now housed in Kyrenia Castle. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never dived before, there are several schools offering formal lessons, guided tours, or a simple 'Try-a-Dive'. Many of the Diving Centers offer a comprehensive range of courses, with either BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) or PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) qualifications.
The coastal mountain range of North Cyprus offers an ideal opportunity for paragliding. Soar like a bird on the excellent thermals, reaching a height of 2,500ft from the stunning Beşparmak Mountains which straddle the north coast of Kyrenia. Paragliding in North Cyprus is the way all paragliding should be; exciting and affordable. A paraglider is a free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft. Despite not having an engine, paraglide flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometers, though flights of 1-2 hours and covering a few tens of kilometers are more the norm. By skillful exploitation of lift, the pilot may gain height, often climbing to a few kilometers over the surrounding countryside. Paragliders are unique among aircraft in being easily portable. The complete equipment packs into a rucksack and can be carried on the pilot's back. In comparison with other air sports this substantially simplifies travel to a suitable take off spot, selection of a landing place and return travel. Paragliding from the Beşparmak Mountains must rank as one of the most enjoyable “must do’s” in your life time. What a wonderful way to view the north coast of Kyrenia, catching the warm thermals soaring high into the cloudless blue skies of the Mediterranean. If our branch's Peggy McAlpine could paraglide at the age of 104 then just about anyone can do it!